London & South East

Go West: Improved dining experience at West Quay

A project designed to improve and enhance dining facilities at a Southampton-based shopping centre has reached completion.

The West Quay Shopping Centre project comprised the refurbishment of an existing food court, located within the upper floor area of the shopping centre. The project was implemented by the Hammerson Group in order to expand the number of retail units on offer and to update and improve the existing facilities.

ISG Ltd was the main contractor on the West Quay Shopping Centre project, whilst London-based retail design consultancy Rawls & Co provided all architectural services on the site. Rawls & Co has been in the industry for over 20 years and in this time has provided services for many high profile sites, including Luton Airport, The Centre:MK and Manchester’s The Avenue at Spinningfields.

Work began on the project in Easter 2012 and reached completion in November 2012.

Commenting on the need for improved dining facilities at West Quay, Rawls & Co Director, Paul Sherwood-Rogers, said:

“The aim of the project was to improve the dining environment for both visitors and tenants, as well as to attract the correct number of tenants at the site; reflecting the growing trend for casual dining over kiosk dining.

“Prior to work taking place on the project there was an existing seating area that was not being utilised to the best of its ability. The area was a little out of the way and not so popular with visitors, so the idea was to improve access and create space for new tenancies, so that the space was not just restricted to seating.

“Although, in total, we have only added three new tenancies to the centre, the new tenancies have greatly helped to define the site’s food offering.”

In order to improve access to the upper level, a large internal bridge and accompanying stairwell was installed on the site. As well as providing important access, the new bridge also creates a terrace seating area, providing diners with views of the nearby docks, as well as a view of a new external green roof – complete with ‘gnome’ lights.

The main materials used on the project include cedar cladding – included to create a warmer finish – along with glass, steel, granite and black oak flooring. The design also reflects the site’s rich maritime history.

Paul said:

“The bridge creates a dramatic centre piece for the site and to date this is something that we have not seen in any other site that we have worked on. It provides a practical and aesthetically pleasing area within the centre.”

Whilst work took place on the site the existing food court remained open to the public at all times, so site staff had to conduct work in phases to facilitate the operational hours of the busy food court.

Paul commented:

“One of the main challenges of the project was to conduct the work whilst the tenants remained trading at all times. It was a very demanding arrangement and with the exception of a few key elements, contractors worked during the evening to avoid impacting on anyone’s trade.”

Paul added:

“Currently businesses are investing in their properties in order to maximise value and deliver growth. Instead of building new sites, many are working with existing assets and this is not the first project like this that we have been involved with to update an existing site.

“We have a lot of experience on projects like the refurbishment at West Quay Shopping Centre and I am pleased to say all of the work on the project ran according to plan. The feedback has been very positive with both customers and investors alike and there has already been a very significant increase in like for like sales.”

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